Thoughts and News on High Visibility Packaging

February 2012 – Innovation helps to reduce food waste in blisterpackaging

Supermarket Marks & Spencers adds a small plaster-style strip, called ‘It’s Fresh!’, at the bottom of punnets of strawberries, containing a patented mixture of clay and other minerals that absorb ethylene – the ripening hormone which causes fruit to ripen and then turn mouldy.  ‘No extra cost’ The strip measures 8cm X 4.5cm and does not affect the recyclability of the packaging, and the retailer claims there is no extra cost to the consumer of the packaging. If successful, it will be added to all its berries.

Marks & Spencer Strawberry blister pack

Trials carried out in M&S stores showed a minimum wastage saving of 4% – during the peak strawberry season this would equate to around 40,000 packs, approximately 800,000 strawberries. The Guardian first broke the story about M&S’ new packaging technology last Friday (6 January). Packaging News’ editor Josh Brooks was quoted in the story. Speaking to the Guardian, he said: “This new launch from M&S is a great example of how innovative packaging helps to preserve and protect the food products it contains. “The crucial role of packaging in delivering products to consumers and reducing food waste through the supply chain and in stores and homes cannot be overstated.” ‘Strawberry season’ The British strawberry season starts in April, so M&S strawberries are currently imported from Egypt, Morocco, Spain and Israel. During the British season M&S sells around one million punnets per week and the retailer hopes the new packaging will result in huge food waste reductions during this period. ‘Reduce food waste’ M&S Agronomist Hugh Mowat said: “This new technology is a win-win for our customers – not only will their strawberries taste better for longer, but we really hope it will help them to reduce their food waste as they no longer need to worry about eating their strawberries as soon as they buy them.” The patented strip is being manufactured and supplied to M&S by ‘It’s Fresh!’ – a British high tech innovations firm. M&S said that It’s Fresh had supplied the technology to other UK retailers for transit packaging. However, this is the first time it is being used in packaging for consumer products. The new strawberry punnets are available from M&S from today (9 January).

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